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In celebration of Burns Night, Dr Clare Jackson discusses the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots.

As attention turns towards the Scottish poet Robert Burns each January for Burns Night, this talk considers Burns’ ‘Lament of Mary, Queen of Scots’ and why a political radical might have retained loyalist sentimentalism to an executed Stuart queen. Returning to events in the 1790s, and the 1580s, this talk considers both Burns’ loyalism, and Mary’s execution, in terms of the ancient ‘Auld Alliance’ of Franco-Scottish amity.

About the speaker

After leaving Loretto School in Edinburgh, Dr Clare Jackson graduated in History from Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. She completed an MPhil in History at Aberystwyth University in Wales, before returning to Cambridge where she researched a PhD on royalist ideas in seventeenth-century Scotland at Sidney Sussex College, and later became a Research Fellow. After moving to Trinity Hall as Director of Studies in History in 2000, she became Senior Tutor of Trinity Hall in October 2013. Dr Jackson's main interests lie in early modern British political, religious, legal and cultural history. She was Editor of the Historical Journal from 2004 to 2011 and her biography, Charles II: The Star King was published in ‘The Penguin Monarchs’ series in 2016. Dr Jackson has appeared regularly on Melvyn Bragg’s In our Time on BBC Radio 4 and presented two BBC2 television series on The Stuarts (2014) and The Stuarts in Exile in 2015, which are often repeated on BBC i-player, PBS, LondonLive and other channels. Her most recent book, Devil-Land: England under siege 1588-1688 (Allen Lane/Penguin, 2021) was chosen as a ‘Book of the Year’ by The Times, The Times Literary Supplement, The New Statesman and The Telegraph.

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